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Ghost Shadow

Ghost Shadow

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Ghost Shadow

valutazioni:
4/5 (19 valutazioni)
Lunghezza:
379 pagine
6 ore
Pubblicato:
Jul 1, 2010
ISBN:
9781426859779
Formato:
Libro

Descrizione



There are those who walk among us who are no longer alive, but not yet crossed over. They seek retribution…vengeance…to warn. Among the living, few intuit their presence.

Katie O'Hara is one who can.

As she's drawn deeper and deeper into a gruesome years-old murder, whispered warnings from a spectral friend become more and more insistent. But Katie must uncover the truth: could David Beckett really be guilty of his fiancée's murder?

Worse—the body count's rising on the Island of Bones, andthe dead seem to be reenacting some macabre tableaux from history. The danger is increasing by the moment—especially as Katie finds herself irresistibly drawn to David, who may be responsible for more than just one killing….

Pubblicato:
Jul 1, 2010
ISBN:
9781426859779
Formato:
Libro

Informazioni sull'autore

New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Heather Graham has written more than a hundred novels. She's a winner of the RWA's Lifetime Achievement Award and the Thriller Writers' Silver Bullet. She is an active member of International Thriller Writers and Mystery Writers of America. For more information, check out her website, theoriginalheathergraham.com. You can also find Heather on Facebook and on Twitter, @heathergraham.

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Anteprima del libro

Ghost Shadow - Heather Graham

17

Prologue

Then

The blue light made the hallway dark and eerie, though just beyond the doors of the museum, the magic sunlight of the island glowed upon tourists and the few locals who considered early morning to be a time before noon. Traces of fog, designed for effect in the museum, lingered and created an atmosphere that was ghostly and suspenseful.

Blood and gory guts! Murder, most foul!

The teasing cry came from a man in the group of fifteen. He was dressed as a tourist, in shorts, T-shirt and baseball cap. His nose still bore traces of white zinc and, as typical of most tourists, he was sporting a sunburn that would soon hurt.

No, death most absurd, David Beckett corrected. He had to admit—he loved filling in as a tour guide, and had been glad to give Danny Zigler, the weekend tour host, time off.

Ooh, murmured one of the teenaged girls.

David heard a small, aborted laugh. It came from Pete Dryer, Key West policeman, who happened to be on the tour with his sister, brother-in-law, niece and nephew, family down from Fort Lauderdale for a few weeks during summer break.

This is going to be dramatic, folks, Pete teased.

Our next exhibit is definitely one of our most bizarre stories—even in a place where the bizarre is quite customary, David said.

They had been moving at a steady but relaxed pace through the exhibits. The museum was a family business, and covered all of the colorful history of Florida’s Key West. Each major event was shown in an incredibly detailed and authentic tableau. The tableaux were not wax. Once upon a time, the place had been a small wax museum, but David’s grandfather, something of a mechanical and electrical genius, had avoided the constant loss of wax figurines when the heat soared in Key West, when storms came through, when air-conditioning ceased to work. The figures in the exhibit were brilliant mechanical masterpieces.

The group was heading to David’s favorite historical exhibit. He grinned and said as an introduction, A story of true love to some—true evil and wickedness to others.

A few of the young women in the crowd of tourists smiled, as well. David played the part of host well, he thought, and had the right appearance for it. He was tall, dark-haired and in damned decent shape at the moment, thanks to the navy. He wore a top hat and Victorian cape, though why that was the uniform, he wasn’t sure. Many of the women and girls in the crowd were nervous—museums with tableaux often made people nervous, and many of the figures here were so realistic that it did seem they might come to life. David was enjoying himself. It was good to be home, and good to be dealing with the family business for a stint, giving employees time off here and there, even if he wouldn’t be staying for long right now. Finished with the military, he was headed to the University of Florida—a bit old for a freshman, but he’d be going on the uncle he’d so recently served, Uncle Sam.

The blonde in the Hog’s Breath Saloon T-shirt and short-shorts was really cute, he thought.

He felt a moment’s guilt; he wasn’t accustomed to feeling free to flirt when he met a lovely young woman. He’d been engaged. He’d had a fiancée he loved, that is until he’d returned home to find out that Tanya had decided that she was moving north with a football player who’d come down to Key West from Ohio State.

It hurt. It still hurt. But his time in the military had driven them apart. They had dated all through high school. It had seemed like real love. But it hadn’t been. Not on Tanya’s part, at least.

But he had been gone often, and for long periods, and maybe it was just natural that she had moved on. Now, he needed to do the same.

He stopped just before his favorite tableau and said, Carl Tanzler was born in Dresden, Germany, and came to the United States via a circuitous route that took him to Cuba, Zephyrhills, Florida, and finally down to Key West. Here he worked as an X-ray technician at the U.S. Marine Hospital, while, for some reason, his wife remained in Zephyrhills with his family. Now, when he was young, so the story goes, he had visions, and his grandmother encouraged those visions. One was a beautiful dark-haired woman who would prove to be his true love.

Typical—his true love wasn’t his wife, the blonde woman said. David thought one of the college girls with her group had called her Genevieve. She looked like a Genevieve. Really pretty face, beautiful eyes.

It wasn’t his wife? Pete’s sister, Sally, said. His true love wasn’t his wife?

Her husband, Gerry, laughed and gave her a hug.

Nope, not his wife, David agreed. One day, into the hospital walked a stunning young Cuban woman named Elena de Hoyos. Sadly, the young woman suffered from tuberculosis. Carl—who called himself Count von Cosel—fell instantly in love with her. Problems abounded. He had his wife, and Elena was married, as well. Ah, but that particular problem was quickly solved, because her husband left her as soon as the diagnosis was made. Carl swore to her and her family that he could cure her. At the time, though, there was nothing at all that he could do, even though he ingratiated himself to the family and was a constant guest in their home with his cures. When Elena died on October twenty-fifth in nineteen thirty-one, he offered to build her a beautiful mausoleum, which he did, and he visited it night after night, playing music for her, speaking to her in her grave, giving her gifts.

That’s sad and tragic, an older woman offered. She had zinc on her nose, too. She seemed to be the wife of the fellow with the sunburn. Her shade almost matched his.

Yes, well, one day, he quit visiting. Now, folks, this is Key West, Florida. For the next several years, Carl Tanzler, Count von Cosel, spent his days buying perfume, mortician’s wax, wire and women’s lingerie and clothing, and no one really seemed to notice. Then one day, Nana, Elena’s sister, heard rumors that Tanzler was sleeping with her sister’s corpse. She accosted Tanzler, and he was soon arrested. Now, legend has it that Nana let him have three days with the body before the police came in to take him, but I’m not sure I believe that bend in the story. Tanzler was taken into custody. He was examined by psychiatrists. Just to prove the rest of the country can be as crazy as folks in Key West, the story became romanticized in papers across America. Eventually, Tanzler was released—the statute of limitations for disturbing a grave had run out. An autopsy suggested that the man had been practicing necrophilia for years. Tanzler’s own memoirs speak of his love for Elena and his belief that they would fly to the stars together as man and wife, since he had married her in a secret and private ceremony. Elena was given a second viewing at the Dean-Lopez Funeral Home. Maybe five or six hundred people attended her first, thousands attended her second. Our next display is one that recalls the famous story of true love—Carl Tanzler stands by the bedside of his bride.

With those words, David strode into the next room, his arm sweeping out dramatically.

He frowned, startled by the sudden silence.

Then the blonde screamed. It was a tragic and horrible scream, and he was destined to hear that sound over and over again in the years to come.

David turned.

The robotic recreation of Carl Tanzler stood just as usual, a small, thin-faced man with a balding head at the rear of the bed, bending over Elena Milagro de Hoyos.

But the body on the bed was not Elena’s.

He didn’t scream. He felt as if ice washed over him and permeated him, blood and bone.

A woman lay on the bed.

But it was not the model of Elena!

She wasn’t dark; she was blonde. Her hair, long and lustrous, fell over the pillow and curled down the side of the bed. Her eyes, blue and open, stared at the ceiling in frozen horror. She was wearing a sundress, and while stretched out in a natural pose, she might have been getting her beauty sleep had it not been for her eyes, staring sightlessly in terror.

David felt his knees buckle. Only the ice in his veins kept him standing.

Blood and guts! Murder most foul!

There was no blood. But it was murder. Despite the pristine beauty of her body as she lay, dark gray bruises were apparent around her neck.

It was murder. The murder of a beautiful young woman.

Not a stranger. Not just any woman.

It was Tanya, his ex-fiancée.

1

Now

"Personally, I think you’ve taken on way too much," Clarinda said, voicing her opinion in a loud whisper next to Katie’s ear. She had to come down to Katie’s ear to be heard so close to the sound system. A drunken frat boy from Omaha was in the midst of a soulful Alice Cooper song, the bar was full and the noise level was high.

Katie shrugged and grinned, looking up at her friend. Maybe she was taking on too much, but an opportunity had come up, and she hadn’t been able to resist.

It will be wonderful, it will work out—and it will be good for Key West, Katie said in return.

Clarinda arched a doubtful brow, set down a glass of water with lime on the small table at Katie’s side and shook her head. I’ll help you, of course, she said. And, you know, Danny Zigler will be delighted to come and work for you. He was heartbroken when the place shut down years ago. People say that it’s haunted, of course. You know that, right?

So I’ve heard, Katie said.

Sweetie, can we get another round over here? a man shouted above the din.

Just don’t call me sweetie, Clarinda said, exhaling a sigh of exasperation. What is this tonight? We usually get the locals who actually know how to hold their liquor.

Gee. We’re in Key West and we’ve been discovered by tourists. Go figure, Katie said.

Yeah, well, I wish I were the karaoke hostess and not the waitress, Clarinda said.

Hey, I’ve told you that you can work for me—

And when the place is slow and the hostess is supposed to sing, I assure you that I’ll clean out not just the bar, but the entire street. No—eventually, I’ll make my fortune doing caricatures on Mallory Square, but until that day, I’ll be your support by helping drunks get drunker and therefore hand out big tips. Okay, that helps both of us.

Sweetie! the man called again. Another round!

He’s going to get the round on top of his head, Clarinda promised and strode toward the bar.

The Alice Cooper tune was winding down. Next up was a fellow who wanted to do Sinatra. Katie applauded both the man returning to his seat and the one walking up to the microphone.

Stumbling up to the microphone. What was it with tonight? It was true—the strange and totally inebriated seemed to be coming out of the woodwork. Well, it was Key West. Home to some, but mainly a tourist town where the primary activity was drinking too much.

Key West has much more to offer, she thought, defending her native territory. The fishing was excellent, diving was spectacular and many visitors came for the water sports. But it was true as well that young and old flocked from far and wide to Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville for the sheer pleasure of a bachelor party, or just wild nights along Duval. Duval was the hub of nightlife, and it was the main place for cheap hotel rooms.

Her place—or her uncle Jamie’s place, O’Hara’s, where she ran Katie-oke—was off the southern end of Duval while most of the more popular watering holes were at the northern end. She did tend to draw a lot of the locals. Many of the entertainers who worked at the festivals—Fantasy Fest, Pirates in Paradise, art fests, music fests, Hemingway Days and more—came in to practice their newest songs with Katie. She operated Katie-oke four nights a week. She also worked at O’Hara’s when she wasn’t doing karaoke, helping set the sound and stage for performers working on their own music, or doing easy acoustic and vocal numbers on Monday and Tuesday nights.

She had received a degree from Juilliard and taken work with a prestigious theater company in New England, and she had loved New England, but it hadn’t been home. She’d eventually discovered that she couldn’t take snow and sleet, and wanted to make her living in Key West.

She realized that she was good at the heat, good at sweating. She just never learned to layer properly.

And the water! How she missed the water when she was away. Her own home, a small Victorian—one of more than three thousand houses in the area on the state’s historic roster—wasn’t on the water, but on Elizabeth Street. She was in Old Town, and surrounded by tourism. She got her fill of water, however, because one of her best friends, an old high-school mate, Jonas Weston, now dating Clarinda, owned and operated the Salvage Inn, a place on the Gulf side with its own little stretch of man-made beach. She was welcome there, whenever she wanted to go.

Those fellows are being quite obnoxious. Want me to take one of them out?

Katie heard the question, but she didn’t even look over at the speaker. Bartholomew knew that he irritated her when he decided to converse in the company of others.

Unaware of Bartholomew casually and handsomely draped upon a bar stool near Katie, Marty Jenkins, local pirate entertainer, came to her side. Will you play a sea-shanty disc for me, Katie?

Of course, Marty, she said.

He handed her his disc and she slid it into her system. No words can come up on the screen, Marty. But you don’t need them, right?

He grinned. Gearing up for the next pirate show, my sweet. No words needed. Thanks.

I’m sure everyone will love it, Marty.

Hey, I heard you bought the old wax museum, Katie, Marty said.

Marty, it’s not a wax museum. It’s full of robotics.

Isn’t that supposed to mean that they all move? Marty asked.

I believe that they all can move. They’re just not operating right now.

Actually, none of them work, from what I understand. Marty wagged a finger at her. That place has been closed down for five years now. Craig Beckett tried to keep it going after that girl’s body was found, but he threw in the towel. If you can get your money back, young lady, you ought to do it.

I want to open it, Marty. I loved the place when I was a little kid, she told him.

He shook his head. They say it’s haunted, and not haunted by good. You know what happened there. Murder!

It was very sad, and a long time ago, Marty. What happened was tragic—some idiot making use of someone else’s dream for a dramatic effect, but it’s all in the past now. I’ll be all right, Marty.

They never caught the killer, missy, he reminded her.

And I’m thinking that the killer moved on, Marty. Nothing like it has happened again.

Still shaking his head, Marty left her.

I think he must be right. It doesn’t sound like a good place to be, Bartholomew informed her, leaning near and whispering, though why he whispered, she didn’t know. Hey! That man is still behaving in a rude and disrespectful way toward Clarinda. Should I do something about it?

Katie grated her teeth and looked toward the bar and the revenant of the man who stood next to her. She was sure that to the rest of the people present, there was nothing to be seen.

Or heard.

She lowered her head and spoke in an intense whisper. Bartholomew, if you wish to maintain a mortal friend, I entreat you to cease and desist—shut up! You make me appear unbalanced, talking to myself all the time.

That chap is an utter ass, Bartholomew protested. "Oh, and there she goes again, out on the street."

Katie looked up. She couldn’t help herself.

It was true. A woman in white was walking along the sidewalk, staring straight ahead. She was in a Victorian white dress, and she knotted a handkerchief in her hands. She looked so sad that Katie felt a pang in her heart, and she bit her lower lip to remind herself that it was a curse seeing ghosts, that she couldn’t become involved with all of them—there were simply too many in Key West—and that the woman was long dead and needed only to discover some kind of inner peace to move on.

She haunts me so, Bartholomew said. He grimaced. No pun intended.

Katie looked around as Bartholomew chuckled. His long-dead state did not seem to dampen his good spirits. He’d been an adventurer in life—and a privateer, not a pirate!—and his sense of curiosity and longing for new experiences had not deserted him in death. He stared at Katie. You really don’t know who she is? And she won’t talk to you?

She never has, Katie said.

Watch it, Bartholomew warned.

She realized Clarinda was staring at her with concern in her eyes.

Katie knew that thus far in her life, only she seemed to be blessed by Bartholomew’s presence.

He was quite the dandy. His shoes were buckled and bore heels, his hose didn’t display a single knot and his breeches were impeccable. He wore a ruffled shirt, red vest and black jacket. His hair was jet-black and neatly queued beneath his tricornered hat. She knew he was especially fond of the Pirates in Paradise festival himself, and he insisted that they spend their time watching the musicians and joining in with the festivities because he loved to comment on the modern-day pirates roaming Key West.

Are you all right? Clarinda asked, coming back up to Katie’s equipment stand and sidling around to stand next to her chair. You’re talking to yourself again, she warned. One of the fellows over there wanted to buy you a drink. He thought you were already well on the way.

Katie looked over to the group where her would-be admirer was sitting. She frowned, recognizing the man, but not knowing why. I don’t want a drink—thank him for me. I was singing under my breath to the song, that’s all. Clarinda, who is that guy?

Clarinda turned and waved a hand. The fellow shrugged. He had tawny-blond hair, a neatly trimmed beard and mustache, and appeared to be in his midthirties. He was so familiar, and not anyone she saw on a daily basis.

He does look—like we should know him, huh?

But I don’t think he’s a local, Katie said.

Maybe he’s on the news—or a fishing show, or something like that, Clarinda suggested.

Well, let’s not make enemies. Tell him thanks for me but no thanks, and that I don’t drink when I work. I was just humming and halfway singing along with the music, Katie said.

Of course. And don’t worry. I already told him that you didn’t drink while you were working. He said all karaoke hosts drank. I said you didn’t.

Thanks. Just be pleasant to him. I can always take care of myself, honestly, Katie assured her.

Indeed! Because I’m at your side, Bartholomew said. And I can take my cutlass to any rat bastard’s throat.

Katie glared at him.

All right, all right, so I can’t master a sword anymore. I can trip the bastard, Bartholomew assured her. I’m quite an accomplished trip artist for a ghost, if I do say so myself.

Lovely, Katie said.

What’s lovely? Clarinda asked.

That it’s finally near closing time. Marty is about to come up. Oh, and it’s thinning out, so…ah! I know what we’ll do.

Katie, I do not sing—

It will be fine, Katie assured her. As she walked back to check on the state of her customers, Katie turned to Bartholomew. Hush until I’m done here tonight, do you hear me? What fun will you have if they lock me up for insanity?

Here? In modern-day Key West? Oh, posh. I’ve yet to see an even semisane person living in or visiting the place, Bartholomew protested.

Shut up now, and I mean it! Katie warned.

Of course, what she could possibly do to him—how to really threaten a ghost—she didn’t know herself. She’d been plagued for years and years by…whatever it was that allowed her to see those who had crossed the veil into the light, as many seemed to term it.

Bartholomew sniffed indignantly and went to lean against the bar, his sense of humor returning as he crossed his arms over his chest and indulged in eavesdropping on everyone around him.

Soon after, Marty went up to do his new song, the crowd, a mix of locals and tourists, went wild and he invited everyone down for Fantasy Fest. Someone asked him about Fantasy Fest and Marty explained that it was kind of like Mardi Gras—a king and queen were elected—and kind of like Halloween, and kind of like the biggest, wildest party anyone could think of. Costumes, parties and special events all around the city. There was a parade with dressed up pets—and undressed people in body paint. It was fabulous, a feast and pure fantasy for the heart and the imagination.

He was proud of himself for his explanation. The next person asked about Pirates in Paradise, and Marty looked troubled. After thinking he said that it was kind of like Fantasy Fest but not—there were pirate parties, pirate encampments, historical demonstrations—and heck, a lot of swaggering and grog drinking, but people were welcome to wear costumes. They could see a mock trial of Anne Bonny, they could learn so much—and run around, saying arrgh, avast and ahoy all day if they liked.

When the crowd finally began to thin around 3:00 a.m., Katie and Clarinda did a song together from Jekyll and Hyde, despite Clarinda’s objections. Her friend had a lovely, strong voice but didn’t believe it; she would only go up late at night and when it was fairly quiet, and only with Katie.

The bar didn’t close up until 4:00 a.m., but Katie ended her karaoke at three, giving folks time to finish up and pay their bar tabs. After she had secured her equipment for the night—she only had to see that the karaoke computer and all her amps were covered and that her good microphones were locked away—she was ready to head home and to sleep. Clarinda stopped her at the door. Hey, Jonas is coming by for me in an hour or so. We’ll walk you home. Hang around.

Katie shook her head. I’m fine, honestly. I grew up here, remember? I know how to avoid drunks and—

We actually get gangs down here now, you know, Clarinda said firmly.

I’m going straight home. I’ll take Simonton, I won’t walk on Duval. I’ll be fine.

Clarinda remained unhappy, but Katie had no intention of being swayed. Her uncle was up in St. Augustine, and Jon Merrillo was managing the bar, so she intended to slip out without being stopped by anyone. On Saturday, she would officially take ownership of the Beckett family’s myth-and-legends museum, and she was tense and wanted to be anywhere but at work. You watch yourself with those drunks! she warned.

Oh, honey, if there’s one thing I learned while you were away at school, it’s how to handle drunks. Oh, wait! We both knew how to manage that before you left. Go. I’ll be fine. And Jonas will be here soon.

Waving and clutching her carryall, Katie left the bar.

At 3:00 a.m., Duval Street was far from closed down. She wondered with a quirk of humor what DuVal—the first governor of territorial Florida—would have thought of the street named in his honor.

Certainly, it kept the name from being forgotten.

Key West was filled with history that shouldn’t be forgotten. The name itself was a bastardization of Cayo Hueso, Island of Bones, and came from the fact that hueso had sounded like west to the English-speaking British who had claimed the state from the Spaniards. The name fit because it was the most western of the Islands of the Martyrs, which was what the chain of Florida keys had been known as to the Spanish. Actually, the Islands of the Dry Tortugas were farther west, but the name had been given, and it had stuck. Street names came from the early Americans—Simonton and his friends, colleagues and their families. Simonton had purchased Key West from a Spaniard named Salas when Florida had become an American territory. Salas had received the island as a gift—or back payment for a debt—from the Spanish governor who had ruled before the American governor. The island had seen British rule as well, and often, no matter who ruled, it wasn’t ruled much at all.

The place was colorful, throughout history, and now.

You do love this place, Bartholomew noted as he walked alongside her.

She shrugged. It’s home. If you’re used to the beautiful fall colors in Massachusetts, that’s home. Down here, it’s the water, and the craziness. Yes, I do love it.

She stopped walking and stared across Simonton, frowning.

What? Bartholomew asked her. I see nothing. Not even the beauty in white who frets so night after night.

Lights.

Lights? They’re everywhere, and trust me, I can remember when they weren’t, Bartholomew told her.

"No! There are lights on in the entry at the old Beckett museum. My museum."

You don’t officially own it until Saturday, or so you said.

Right, I have a meeting at the bank on Saturday— Liam is going to come and help me—and I sign the final papers, but…

There shouldn’t have been anyone in the museum. Craig Beckett had passed away at eighty-eight almost a year ago, a dear man, one who might have lived forever. His health had been excellent. But his life had existed around a true love affair. When Leandra, his wife of sixty-plus years had passed away, he had never quite recovered. He hadn’t taken a pistol to his head or an overdose of prescription medication, he had simply lost his love for life. Liam Beckett, a friend of Katie’s since she had come back—they hadn’t been friends before, since Liam had graduated high school before she had started—had been the assumed executor of the estate, and he’d planned to tear the museum down rather than invest in repairing it. The place hadn’t been open in years; Katie had loved it as a child, and she had long dreamed of reopening it. She had talked Liam into agreeing. David Beckett, Liam’s cousin and coexecutor of the estate, hadn’t actually corresponded about the matter yet. He’d been working in Africa, Asia, Australia or somewhere far away for the past few years, and Liam was convinced that David wouldn’t care one way or another what happened to the place. It was unlikely he would remain in the Keys if he actually returned at all. Since David had left, almost ten years ago, he had never wanted to come home.

His former fiancée, the great love of his life at the time, even though she had left him, had been murdered. Strangled. She was left there, in the family museum, posed in position as the legendary Elena Milagro de Hoyos.

He’d been under suspicion. He’d had an alibi—his grandparents. That alibi had made some

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3.9
19 valutazioni / 13 Recensioni
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Recensioni dei lettori

  • (4/5)
    This was a pretty good easy read. Looking forward to reading the next one
  • (4/5)
    The night that David Beckett filled in as a tour guide for Danny Zigler, the weekend tour host, tour participants got rather more than they bargained for. The authentic and detailed tableau they came upon showed Carl Tanzler and a young Cuban woman named Elena de Hoyas. Except that there was a real body there - that of David's ex-fiance Tanya.Ten years on. The police rejected David as Tanya's murderer but the case was never solved. Now David, Tanya's brother Sam, and Tanya's ex-boyfriend are all back in town, and the murderer strikes again!Heather Graham draws a long bow with the paranormal. You won't enjoy GHOST SHADOW if you can't tolerate a ghost or two. In fact the tourism industry in Key West thrives on them. Throw in a lynched privateer who is determined to right past wrongs, and Katie MacDonald who can not only see him but talks to him and to others more recently slain. The paranormal is not my usual cup of tea but the story was sufficiently intriguing to keep me reading.GHOST SHADOW is the first of a trilogy, all set in Key West (The Island of Bones) and all to be published within a very short time frame, just a month apart, June to August 2010. The books appear to be connected by characters in common.Heather Graham is a prolific author, writing also as Shannon Drake, and Heather Graham Pozzessere. Her books are characterised by romantic suspense, historical settings, and paranormal elements.
  • (4/5)
    Good book, but not the best in the series. It seemed a bit slow and repetitive in some places. Always a good author to read.
  • (4/5)
    Katie sees dead people. She talks to them too. Katie works at her uncle Jamie's pub in Key West.She runs Katie-okie, the karaoke nights entertainment. Katie is young and beautiful and loves her life in Key West. One of her best friends is Bartholomew, who just happens to be a ghost. When her co-worker Clarinda, and all of the customers at O'Hara's pub she her talking to "herself", she tries to convince them she is singing along with her music. Only her brother knows about Katie'sgift of seeing ghosts, and he is in denial, as well as out of town.When a failed business venture brings an old friend of her brothers backto town. Things begin to get interesting. David had once been a suspect in a murder case. One that involved his then fiance, or to be more precise, his ex. Suddenly, there is another murder...and things start getting crazy. Katie and Bartholomew get caught up in trying to find the murderer. This was a fun read. It wes quick and easy and I loved Bartholomewmost, out of all of the ghosts. And believe mer there were a few. Did I mention that Bartholomew was the ghost of a hanged pirate?Oops! I meant to say privateer...
  • (5/5)
    The mystery of the ghosts and the trouble the town may be in kept me interested in this book. The connection of the characters and the action that happens between the real world and the ghost was a very interesting idea. I really enjoyed this book.
  • (4/5)
    Katie O'Hara, owner of Katie-okie, a karaoke business that seems to only play at her uncle's bar and restaurant, attempts to purchase a tourist attraction that has been vacant on the island ever since a woman was found murdered in one of the exhibits. The evening before the purchase goes through, she walks past the building and sees the lights on. Katie, of course, goes to investigate the mysterious lights only to find the co-owner of the building, and the man who many believed murdered the woman years before, David Beckett. After David blocks Katie's purchase of the museum, the two wind up teaming up in order to find out who killed the woman, David's ex-fiance, so many years before. And, oh yeah, did I mention that Katie can see and talk to ghosts? Katie's constant companion is Bartholomew - a wise-cracking pirate (oops, PRIVATEER) who is determined to keep Katie safe.

    "Ghost Shadow" is an entertaining paranormal romantic suspense. The investigation is fun to follow, but remains in the background to the romance. The heroine in spite of communicating with ghosts (Bartholomew the spirit adds humor to the mix) has doubts about Beckett even as she falls in love with him. With a supernatural nod to Hitchcock's Suspicion, fans will enjoy "Ghost Shadow".

  • (4/5)
    Another really good fun read from Heather Graham. Love the action, the ghost characters, and the wonderful Key West setting. A really good read. First in a trilogy.
  • (1/5)
    This was tedious to read. I don't recommend it.
  • (3/5)
    I recently decided to read the Bone Island Trilogy by Heather Graham because it fit a challenge I was participating in. I don't normally care that much for paranormal romantic suspense but this wasn't too bad. The first book in the trilogy, Ghost Shadow, revolves around photographer David Beckett. He left Key West under the shadow of suspicion ten years ago when his former fiancee was found dead in the wax museum owned by his family. He had an alibi, but since the killer was never caught, there's still a great deal of suspicion surrounding him. Katie O’Hara has been negotiating with the estate to buy the museum. When a stripper is murdered and her body displayed in another museum, she and David convince the police to reopen the old murder case.

    This is primarily a romance series, with the paranormal focused on an interesting ghost named Bartholomew, who used to be a privateer. There was a fascinating timeline at the beginning of the book that described the historical events alluded to in the story. I thought the main characters were predictable and the best part of the story always involved Bartholomew. Nevertheless, if you are a fan of paranormal romance you might like this book a lot more than I did. I'm going to continue the trilogy and see if it improves.

  • (4/5)
    This was a pretty good easy read. Looking forward to reading the next one
  • (4/5)
    Not a bad thriller/mystery, but one that probably won't stick with me for a lengthy amount of time. This was a reasonably quick read, not as suspenseful as some, but okay. It was kind of coincidental that I happened to catch "Ghost" on TV while reading...some minor similarities in regards to those individuals "in between" worlds. This novel in no way blew me away, but I'd probably be willing to read more by Heather Graham.
  • (2/5)
    Ghost Shadow by Heather Graham
    Book #1 in Bone Island Trilogy
    2 Stars

    Synopsis:
    Katie O’Hara can see and speak to ghosts. She plans on purchasing and refurbishing a wax museum where the gruesome discovery of a corpse was made several years before. Now, with the suspects returning to Key West and the new bodies piling up, Katie, with the help of her ghostly friends and the original victim’s ex-fiancé, must discover the identity of the killer before she becomes his next victim.

    Review:
    The macabre details of Key West’s history are very intriguing, however, they cannot compensate for the poor writing and predictable plot. Graham has a bad habit of repeating clues as if she thinks the reader will miss them - unfortunately, she even uses the same words to do so.
    The killer is also predictable and can be guessed in the first third of the book.
    One of the only other positive elements is the hilarious ghost, Bartholomew, whose wisecracks make the book somewhat readable.
    I will not be reading any more in the series.
  • (2/5)
    Just not sure on this one. I never know how to rate a book where I liked the story but didn’t really like any of the characters. I take that back I did enjoy Sean and Bartholomew. The mystery is very intriguing and the setting is phenomenal – makes me want to visit and explore Key West. I had a hard time buying the romance between Katie/David. David is a very stiff character to the point even the narrator talked in a very formal stiff manner when voicing him. Very little emotion to help me feel like he really felt anything for anybody. The story lost a star because the conclusion was so obvious early on that it made the characters in the book seem almost stupid for not realizing it sooner. The author also seemed to be in denial about the villain. She used “dramatic pauses” (I don’t know how else to explain it) where the characters go “OMG I know who the killer is” and then the scene changes. She also kept referring to “the killer” when it was well past time to use the character’s name. The narrator was very good on the female characters but I got a little confused on the male characters except for David. I will continue the series as I already own it.